Here is Jack's:
My name is Jack Drury. I am from Saranac Lake and have been a wilderness advocate, a resident of the Park, and a licensed Adirondack guide, since 1972.
As a long-time Wilderness advocate I certainly appreciate the desire to classify the maximum amount of the Boreas tract possible, as Wilderness. I have given this issue considerable thought, and my nuanced view will probably satisfy none of my friends and colleagues along the continuum of those who desire Wilderness to those who desire motorized uses. In other words I may equally offend everyone. I hope not to.
I do not believe that Wilderness classification around the ponds is the only way, nor necessarily the best way, to protect this special place. The issues that will determine long-term protection are; types of uses that are allowed, ease of access, and, most of all, the quality of its management.
I’m against motorized access between the current parking lot at 3.5 miles and LaBierre Flow with three exceptions, those exceptions being: administrative use,-- by special permit for the disabled, --and some sort of concession operated by a local guiding/outfitting company on a limited and regulated basis, within the limits of the area’s carrying capacity.
I support Wild Forest designation for the area around the Boreas Ponds for one reason: to allow for non-motorized uses that would be illegal if classified Wilderness. I believe that we should allow for family-friendly mountain biking, as well as family-friendly cross-country skiing on certain former logging roads. If we are to maintain and expand our constituency of wild lands supporters we need more novice-friendly trails What do I mean by“family or novice friendly?” As a guide I frequently guide novices and families and they have unique recreational needs. (i.e., trails that have varied terrain but are wide - former logging roads fit the bill perfectly.)
I acknowledge that, given enough time, the existing roads would revert back to wilderness. Should we, however, waste this vast potential non-motorized recreational asset? If the state were to try to build recreational ski/bicycle trails similar to those that already exist in the Boreas tract it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Given the desire to boost the local recreation-based economy and the desire to keep from increasing taxes, it seems foolish to let these recreation assets be wasted.
Long-term protection and multiple non-motorized uses are not mutually exclusive. Let’s find a way to make it happen.
Finally, and most importantly, as passionate as we all are, we must keep this issue in perspective. While communities may, lives do not hang in the balance here. These lands have received some of the strongest protection found in the country and compared with all the problems that need addressing in the Park, much less nationally and internationally, this is a small issue. When it is all said and done, we must find a way to maintain trust and mutual respect amongst all the interest groups across the spectrum, local government, and state agencies. If we fail in this we fail overall.